With “green” on the mind from holiday trees, wreaths, and garlands, here’s a package of ideas for keeping “green” — as in sustainable and eco-friendly — in your life throughout 2011 and beyond. They are gems on sustainability hand-picked from almost 38,000 scientific reports and articles that the American Chemical Society (ACS) published in 2010 in its 38 peer-reviewed scientific journals and Chemical & Engineering News, its weekly newsmagazine. With more than 161,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society. To your New Year’s resolutions for 2011, being celebrated as the International Year of Chemistry (IYC), consider adding:
Scientists have identified a way that the United States could immediately save the energy equivalent of about 350 million barrels of oil a year — without spending a penny or putting a ding in the quality of life: Just stop wasting food. Their study, reported in ACS’ peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that it takes the equivalent of about 1.4 billion barrels of oil to produce, package, prepare, preserve and distribute a year’s worth of food in the United States. Listen to podcast
How much “green exercise” produces the greatest improvement in mood and sense of personal well-being? A study in ACS’ peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology has a surprising answer. The answer is likely to please people in a society with much to do but little time to do it: Just five minutes of exercise in a park, working in a backyard garden, on a nature trail, or other green space will benefit mental health. Listen to podcast
Driving a car increases global temperatures in the long run more than making the same long-distance journey by air, according to a study in ACS’ peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Science & Technology. However, in the short run travelling by air has a larger adverse climate impact because airplanes strongly affect short-lived warming processes at high altitudes. The study also noted that passenger trains and buses cause four to five times less impact than automobile travel for every mile a passenger travels.
Laundry detergent manufacturers are rolling out a new generation of products aimed at making cleaning more efficient and environmentally friendly, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS’ weekly newsmagazine “Beyond the Basics.”
People who care about improving the environment in life may soon be able to do so after death. Entrepreneurs in Europe have developed two new and unusual methods of body disposal — including a low-heat cremation method and a corpse compost method that turns bodies into soil — that could provide environmentally friendly alternatives to those now in use. That’s the topic of an article in C&EN: “Green for Eternity”
People in European countries have positive attitudes toward a new eco-friendly toilet that could substantially reduce pollution problems and conserve water and nutrients, scientists in Switzerland are reporting. Their article, which calls on authorities to give wider support for the innovative toilet technology, is in ACS’ peer-reviewed journal, Environmental Science & Technology